Ontario investing $166M in digital justice platform

By Ian Burns

Law360 Canada (July 18, 2023, 12:27 PM EDT) -- Ontario is investing $166 million in an initiative to deliver more legal services online, which would replace paper-based procedures with a digital platform to support access to the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice.

Thomson Reuters has been awarded the contract to deliver the new digital justice platform, which will allow court users to file documents quickly and easily online, digitally access court case information online, pay fees online and connect virtually to hearings. It will also allow individuals to manage court appearances online and receive decisions electronically.

The funding was revealed June 18.

Attorney General Doug Downey

Attorney General Doug Downey

“Ontario is one step closer to a digital justice system that helps people resolve legal matters easier and faster,” Attorney General Doug Downey said. “Today marks a significant new chapter in our government’s plan to build a more modern, accessible and effective justice system now and into the future.”

The Courts Digital Transformation initiative was first announced in November 2021 and is a major part of the province’s Justice Accelerated Strategy, a multiyear plan to harness technology to break down barriers in the justice system and speed up access to services, whether remotely, in person and online.

Ontario Superior Court Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawetz and Ontario Court of Justice Chief Justice Sharon Nicklas said in a joint statement they applauded the government’s investment and support towards the modernization of court processes, procedures and technology.

“[The courts] remain committed partners in this critical modernization project and to collaborating with our justice partners to replace several antiquated technology programs with a more seamless and streamlined system to support both courts and across business lines,” the two said.

In February 2022, the Ontario government announced an investment of $65 million over five years to ensure more courtrooms across the province are equipped with technology to enable people to access hearings through video or audio.

More information on Ontario's Justice Accelerated Strategy can be found here.

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